Oakland Raiders Beat Themselves, Can Bounce Back

The Raiders lost a tough nail-biter in the desert today, falling to the Cardinals, 24-23.  This was a game that many authorities picked the Raiders to win.

The switch from the strong-armed, yet slow-releasing Jason Campbell to the fiery "Polish Pop-Gun" Bruce Gradkowski, and the re-emergence of Darren McFadden further fueled the collective optimism.

The Raiders seemed determined to have a more balanced offense today as they ran the ball for over 130 yards and passed for over 230 yards. They had some key receptions on some crucial downs by their young wide receivers and tight end, but also a few very costly drops and miscues. 

The sports world and many Raider fans will hang this game on the three missed field goals by Janikowski.  Although they were indeed some CRUCIAL shanks to both sides of the uprights, the game could have been put away in the second half.

The Raiders were down 17-13 with over two minutes to go in the first half and punched in a TD on the legs of Run DMC to take the lead going into halftime. Instead of coming out in the second half using the momentum they had to take control of the game, they imploded.


Second Half Costly Errors and Brain Farts

The Raiders did a fairly good job of moving the ball down the field, but negated their own progress with dumb penalties.

On their second possession of the third quarter, the Raiders (courtesy of a 70-yard pass play to Louis Murphy) moved the ball all the way to the Cardinals 13-yard line when LT Mario Henderson got called for offensive holding and moved them back to the 23-yard line. They then go three and out (gaining no yards), only for Janikowski to shank his first of three misses (-3 points).

To add insult to injury, they turn around and let the Cardinals march down the field and let Larry Fitzgerald score a TD on only one of two passes caught by playing a weak zone defense d...

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